Last week I shared with you my story of confidence and how it took a life and death moment to convince me to love myself more in my blog post Confidence From Catastrophe. The response from that post was seriously overwhelming and I realized that there are a lot of people just like me who need reminders from time to time that we all need to be kinder to ourselves. I think often about how my girls are going to learn how to treat themselves and others from the example I set. Sometimes that seems like such a huge responsibility, but I know that when all is said and done, I want my little ones to have the confidence, growing up, that I lacked as a teenager, and I have the amazing opportunity to teach them that.
In my photography world, women that look like me are often referred to as “real women” or “plus size” or “curvy”. I am even guilty of assigning these labels to myself and others, but truthfully, it makes me mad. Size 0 or 24, a woman is a woman is a woman. Isn’t the beautiful thing about us women that we are all so different? Why should I (or anyone) have to live with a label holding me down?? What I have found from working with countless women, is that women, no matter their size, just want to feel good about themselves, and that is the experience I strive to provide. In my recent post “There are 7 Days in a Week and Someday Isn’t One of Them“, I talk about how we should all stop hiding behind the excuse: “as soon as I lose 10 pounds” and be present in beautiful portraits, both for ourselves and for others. So this month, I decided to practice what I have been preaching, and ask my friend Megan at Gypsy Rain Photography to shoot a boudoir session for me to give to my husband as a Valentine’s Day Gift. Proving to skeptics everywhere, that if I can do it, so can you.
Megan arrived early to my Downtown Raleigh portrait studio and we went over exactly what I wanted from my session. I explained to her in our earlier correspondences that I am not a skimpy lingerie kind of girl, and I really wanted to achieve an organic and realistic look in my session. I was beyond thrilled when she was totally on board with my wardrobe selections which included my softest over-sized cowl neck sweater and favorite flannel shirt.
Since my style is mostly comfy cozy, I wanted for that to be reflected in my final images. I hear from my clients that they think boudoir has to be raunchy, but I am here to tell you that it’s not. From the feedback I have received from my clients, their partners actually think that a smile or laugh is what makes their partner sexy. They tell me that it’s the way she sips her coffee in the morning, or the way she twirls her hair when she thinks no one is paying attention that make her sexy. So why not capture that in an image.
When it comes down to posing, simply taking time to focus on the things my subjects and their partners love about them is key. A skilled photographer knows how to pose you (no matter your size) in a way that makes you look amazing. For example, shooting on an angel or slightly above eye level is always slimming. And as the person in front of the camera, you can do things like point your toes, and sit up tall, and lengthen your neck to help ensure you love the final images.
My boudoir clients ask me all the time, what if I don’t have anything to wear. My answer: a white sheet. I just LOVE a white sheet session for obvious reasons. What better way to let YOU be the star of the show than to get rid of all the distractions? This is what I call the “I woke up like this” look. Think iconic Marilyn Monroe.
And of course, taking a few shots you can share with your mom are a good idea too. We all know Mom is going to want to see something! I love to really infuse some personality into these. For me, that meant adding my first camera as a prop. For you, that could mean bringing your favorite stack of books or the instrument you play. The possibilities are endless.
So, if I can do it and put myself out there for the world to see, surely you can treat yourself to an hour in front of my camera ( or anyone else’s for that matter) so that you can see how simply amazing you are. Even if you never share the images with anyone, they are your tangible reminder that you are beautiful. You are worthy of all the love in the world… especially your own.
If you are looking for some truly inspirational women of all sizes and ages, follow the #ThisBody an #HappyIsNotADressSize campaigns on Instagram. I would love nothing more than to see these hashtags go viral with women celebrating their bodies at every stage and every age.
Happy Valentines Day
photography by: Gypsy Rain Photography